Hot topics close

Zodiac Killer Cipher Finally Cracked After 51 Years, And It’s As Chilling As You’d Expect

But there aren’t obvious clues to his identity.

A coded message sent by the infamous Zodiac Killer to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper in 1969 has finally been cracked, the Chronicle reported Friday, though it did not reveal any obvious clues about the still-unidentified serial killer.

Zodiac Killer DNA

A San Francisco Police Department wanted bulletin and copies of letters sent to the San Francisco ... [+] Chronicle by a man who called himself Zodiac are displayed Thursday, May 3, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Key Facts

The “340 cipher,” sent to the newspaper in 1969, was solved by a team of codebreakers from the U.S., Australia and Belgium and has been confirmed by the FBI.

“I hope you have lots of fun in trying to catch me,” the coded message reportedly begins.

The killer goes on to say: “I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me.”

At least five deaths in the Bay Area of California have been attributed to the Zodiac Killer in 1968 and 1969, with two confirmed survivors of Zodiac attacks, though the killer claimed to have killed many more victims—37 in total.

An earlier cipher sent in pieces to local newspapers that had long been solved simply said, “I like killing because it is so much fun.”

The Zodiac Killer investigation remains ongoing, according to the FBI.

Crucial Quote

“The Zodiac Killer terrorized multiple communities across Northern California and even though decades have gone by, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes,” the FBI’s San Francisco office said in a statement.

Key Background

Americans have been intrigued by the Zodiac Killer case for over half a century now, especially given all the mystery behind who the killer is and the brash, even cocky, way he taunted the public. The killer was notorious for his threatening letters and phone calls to local media and police. He also signed his letters with a crossed circle representing the Zodiac, and was described by survivors as wearing a black, hooded top bearing the symbol during his murders. The Zodiac Killer has inspired many books, TV shows and a popular 2007 film called “Zodiac,” based off a 1986 book.

What We Don’t Know

The same thing we haven’t known for over 50 years—the Zodiac Killer’s identity. Numerous theories and stories about who the killer is have come up over the years, but thus far none of them have stuck. The closest the Zodiac Killer has officially come to being identified is a police sketch showing a clean shaven, short-haired white man wearing glasses.

Further Reading

Zodiac ‘340 Cipher’ cracked by code experts 51 years after it was sent to the S.F. Chronicle (San Francisco Chronicle)

10 Great Movies To Watch Before They Disappear From Netflix At The End Of November (Forbes)

Similar shots
This week's most popular shots